SEC enforcement

SEC Fines and Bans Three Accounting Firm CPAs for Not Doing Their Jobs Very Well

Three CPAs from a New Jersey public accounting firm most of you probably have never even heard of got their wrists slapped by the SEC on Sept. 30 for signing off on the audits of an IT company’s financial statements, even though the company’s CEO and CFO were perpetuating a massive fraud. Schulman Lobel Zand […]

What Price Wrong-Doing? Sanctions Against KPMG Are Complicated

“Sell in May and go away” was an investors’ adage invoked as vacation strategy in a more genteel era. Returns in the summer were said to lag the rest of the year—and in any event, that’s how brokers justified their holiday cottages on the eastern seaboard. This year the maxim has twice failed my attempt […]

Which KPMG Scandal Is Worse: PCAOB ‘Steal the Exam’ or CPE Training Exam Cheating?

Since Monday when the SEC announced it had fined KPMG $50 million for not one but two scandals involving auditor misconduct at the firm, I’ve been thinking about which scandal is worse. Is it KPMG audit partners stealing confidential information from rogue PCAOB employees in order to better the firm’s audit inspection scores OR is […]

SEC Says $50 Million Fine For KPMG Is ‘Significant’ and ‘Appropriate’ For All That Cheating Going On

The SEC made official today the news that Dave Michaels of the Wall Street Journal broke late last week, announcing that KPMG will pay $50 million to settle allegations that former partners “stole the test” by using confidential information that was being fed to them by a PCAOB insider to improve the firm’s performance on […]

Two Internal Auditors Thought They Could Get Away with Insider Trading, LOL

Two internal auditor buddies got a starring role in an SEC litigation release after they were charged with insider trading for monkeying around with secret information about their respective employers. Lloyd Schuman, a former senior internal auditor at Verso Corp., and Dane Janes, an internal auditor with Ashford Hospitality Trust Inc., agreed to pay a […]

It Seems the PCAOB and SEC Are Giving Accountants the Benefit of the Doubt More These Days

Maybe it’s because the PCAOB had a new chairman and a whole new board at the beginning of last year. Or maybe it’s because the audit regulator’s longtime enforcement chief bolted last May and the position still hasn’t been permanently filled. Whatever the reason, the PCAOB settled only 13 enforcement actions against accountants in 2018, […]

PCAOB Told SEC ‘Hold My Drink,’ Went All Enforcement-Crazy on Accountants in 2017

2017 was a banner year for the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board when it came to enforcement actions against accountants. For the Securities and Exchange Commission, not so much. The PCAOB finalized 35 enforcement actions involving “accountants”—otherwise known as CPAs employed by SEC registrants, auditors, and audit firms—last year, up from 28 in 2016, according […]

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KPMG Settles With SEC Over a Giant Failure of an Audit

KPMG has settled SEC charges for $6.2 million due to a shoddy audit of an oil and gas company. The partner in charge of the job, John Riordan, also settled to charges, agreeing to a $25,000 fine and a suspension to practice before the SEC. He can re-apply in two years. KPMG did not admit […]

EY Thought the Weatherford Audit Could Turn Out Badly; It Turned Out Badly

I'm not sure if there's a pattern or not, but it sure seems like the Big 4 take turns being the poster child of sloppy auditing. Sometimes the stretch is long and sometimes it's short, but it's inevitable that something blows up and one firm will be back on top as the King of Failed […]

Weatherford International Gets in Trouble for Letting Execs Choose Their Own Numbers

Going Concern history buffs will recall a period in 2011-2012 when oil services company Weatherford International had some chronic problems with its tax accounting. Manipulations by two of its former accounting executives — James Hudgins and Daryl Kitay — resulted in a $500 million restatement in 2011. This was followed by two more restatements in […]